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First step in development of walking trails through Lakes Business Park gets support from Gilford Selectboard

GILFORD — Selectmen voted unanimously to approve the expenditure of $11,710 from the Lakes Business Park Phase II Capital Reserve Fund to finish the engineering work for one of three proposed park trails.

The expenditure of the money is also contingent on the approval of the Laconia City Council.

The money is from the joint contributions the two communities are required to make into the capital reserve fund. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said there is an estimated balance in the fund of $326,000.

According to Town Administrator Scott Dunn, a trail system for walking, hiking, bicycling and other non-motorized activities except camping was part of the initial plan when the two communities joined forces in 2002 to expand the business park off Hounsell Avenue. The land is owned by the city by located within the limits of the township.

While installing the necessary infrastructure to the building sites and the roads, the project ran out of its initial capitalization before the trail network could be built.

Dunn said in the past year or so the Conservation Commission has told him that they desire to see the trail network built as stipulated in the initial conservation easement. He said he is working with the Parks and Recreation Department to identify possible sources of grants to build the trails.

He said that should the town identify some grants to build a trail, the park would need to have some recent engineering work in place to qualify.

Dunn said while he and the town of Gilford have been exploring grants, the Board of Directors at the business park have also begun to explore their role in the trail system by contacting Fluet Engineering, which still has the engineering plans from the first design.

Dunn said that the business park board of directors is taking a "minimalist" approach to the trail with regard to layout, clearing, drainage, and surface and at this point in time, there is no plan to add any pavement.

He said the business park board would be seeking volunteers to the extent possible.

Dunn also noted the business park board thinks having a trail system would benefit further marketing efforts for the undeveloped lots.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:44

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City man charged with lewd act before Holderness girls operating lemonade stand

HOLDERNESS — A Laconia man is being held on $50,000 cash-only bail for allegedly exposing himself to two young girls at a lemonade stand on Saturday on Route 113.

Affidavits said Christopher Geary, 45, of 9 Harrison St. allegedly passed by the two girls — one who is 7 and one who is 9 — repeatedly drove by them before stopping and asking them to bring him some lemonade.

When they did, he allegedly told them he had to urinate and then emptied the cup before exposing his penis and urinating in it. He allegedly asked the girls if they wanted to see more.

The girls told police that after he exposed himself, he reached out and tried to grab them. The older girl yelled at the younger girl to run away, which they were able to do.

The girls described the car as a red Jeep Wrangler with the canvas top down. They both said it had "several tires in the back seat."

A town of Holderness beach attendant spotted the vehicle at 1:06 p.m. and reported it was driving on Livermore Road. A Campton Police officer was in the area and stopped the car on the Holderness/Campton town line.

The girls accompanied by their father met the police and the girls said they were 100 percent positive that was the same vehicle and driver.

Geary told police he wasn't on Route 113 and asked for a lawyer.

According to the N.H. Sex Registry site, a media representative from the N.H. Department of Corrections, and an employee at the N.H. Circuit Court call center, Geary has multiple convictions for indecent exposure and lewdness.

In 1997, he was convicted of two counts of lewdness and escape stemming from charges out of Laconia. In 2004, he was convicted of lewdness stemming from an incident in Manchester.

On July 6, 2010 and in July of 2011 he was convicted of failure to register as a sex offender after not reporting to Laconia police.

Convicted again of a registration offense on July 13, 2012, he was sentenced to serve 2 to 4 years in the N.H. State Prison — all suspended. He was placed on probation for three years.

In November of 2013, Geary was convicted of stalking for repeated circling the Bristol Elementary School prior to making contact with a juvenile female.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to the Grafton County House of Corrections for 120 days, credited with 17 days of time served and had the remaining 103 days suspended.

The sex offender registry shows the last time he registered was with Laconia Police on May 7, 2014 and gave his address as 9 Harrison St.

One of the conditions of his current bail status is that if he should post the $50,000 cash he is ordered not to enter the towns of Plymouth and Holderness, to stay away from any minor child, and to report to Laconia police weekly during business hours.

Judge Thomas Rappa also ordered that if Geary is to enter any commercial establishments or public place where there are children he must not make any effort to contact them and must be in those places for a legitimate purpose.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:33

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Governor helps roll out Laconia's 91st Bike Week

LACONIA — Foreseeing the skies will clear and the sun will shine, Cynthia Makris of the Naswa Resort, president of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, heralded the 91st running of Motorcycle Week, the oldest motorcycle rally in the country, before a gathering of city and state officials at the Weirs Beach Lobster Pound restaurant yesterday.

The rally officially begins on Saturday and runs through Sunday, June 22.

"This is a bike friendly town and state," Makris remarked, noting that the Naswa has hosted rallygoers since 1935. "They open their hearts and their wallets," she said by way of welcoming motorcycling enthusiasts whose arrival marks the opening of the summer tourist season and whose numbers make the annual rally a mainstay of the state's hospitality sector.

Governor Maggie Hassan said that the rally draws 250,000 people to New Hampshire and spurs $100 million of economic activity. "We have much to offer in New Hampshire," she declared, "unmatched natural beauty, our rich history and our tax-free shopping. Echoing Makris, she said that many who attend the rally in June return to the state throughout the year.

Hassan expressed her gratitude to all everyone who has contributed to the success of the event. "New Hampshire is an all hands on deck kind of place," the governor said, "and Motorcycle Week represents that very well." In particular, she singled out the law enforcement and public safety agencies for ensuring the well-being of hosts and guests alike.

"I'll brag on my team," said City Manager Scott Myers, who praised the contribution of every municipal department, as well as the cooperation of neighboring towns — Gilford and Meredith — to what he called "a world class event."

Describing the rally as "an anchor event," Jeff Rose, commissioner of Resources and Economic Development, pointed out that during the past 19 years his agency has invested $800,000 in supporting and promoting Motorcycle Week.

Mayor Ed Engler acknowledged that "much is made of the economic impact of bike week." But, he added "on a personal note" that since the early 1990s the Laconia Rotary Club, which has raffled one or two motorcycles during the rally for more than 20 years, has raised "right at $1 million".

"Every dime has gone directly back into our community," he continued, "and about $250,000 has offset college cost burdens. Without Motorcycle Week we wouldn't have the opportunity to raise that kind of money," he concluded."

Striking the same chord, Doug Asermely of Sickboy Motorcycles, a regular vendor at the rally, announced the first annual Mae West Animal Shelter Run, the proceeds of which will benefit the New Hampshire Humane Society. He recalled that he was moved by the distress of Charlie St. Clair, executive director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, at the passing of his cat before the rally last year.

On the eve of the rally, the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association was recognized by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) as the "Recreational Road Riding Organizer of the Year." Bill Cumbow, racing director of the AMA, noted that "the organizers always do a good job of advancing the core values of the AMA" by promoting "the motorcycle lifestyle in a safe, fun and responsible way.

Jennifer Anderson, director of the association, said that Motorcycle Week has grown beyond The Weirs and Laconia to encompass the entire state and urged everyone to "get out and ride." She explained that this year the rally features a passport program, enabling riders to visit 23 destinations in New Hampshire and New England, where their passports will be stamped, to qualify for prizes, including a stay for two at the Naswa Resort in 2015.

St. Clair said he was pleased that businesses and charities prospered from the rally, but noted that "we're basically a dirt poor association." Then he announced that to address the situation he has mounted a petition drive to ask the Legislature to authorize a license plate bearing the logo of the 100th Laconia Motorcycle Week in 2023 and apply the sales to the organization and promotion of the rally.

"License plates are hard," Hassen interjected with a smile. However, St. Clair said that Executive Councilor Joe Kenney, who was also in the room, assured him "I'll get right to work on it." St. Clair said he intends to distribute the petition to every motorcycle dealership in the state as well as to other businesses frequented by bikers. "Our goal is to get 50,000 signatures by the end of the year," he said, "and I believe we'll get more than that."

The event closed with the presentation of the Fritzie Baer Award, named for the man who personified motorcycling and the rally in the Lakes Region in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, to Paul Cote for his championship of motorcyclists' rights and especially safety. ""Let's have zero accidents and zero fatalities this week and this season," Cote said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:28

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Gilford moves group of Gunstock Acres roads to top of repair list

GILFORD — With a room filled with concerned property owners looking on, selectmen voted unanimously Wednesday night to eliminate Saltmarsh Pond Road from the 2014 summer construction schedule and add four roads in Gunstock Acres, including Chestnut Drive.

The decision came at the suggestion of Wolcott Construction — the company that the town uses for its summer road projects — and was supported by Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan.

"(The roads) won't just get worse, they'll disappear," said Morgan who explained that the original paving of the roads in question was done about 12 to 15 years ago with a less-expensive asphalt then made available to various New Hampshire communities.

Morgan said the town got a good value for what it purchased and pavement lasted longer than he thought it would, but the roads in that area are no longer viable.

Many of those who spoke said portions of Chestnut Drive are down to one lane while one resident said every time the UPS or Federal Express driver comes to his house, he or she takes a little piece of the road away when they go.

All totaled, there a seven roads in the neighborhood that the town will reconstruct — Chestmut Drive, Falls Avenue, Balsam Drive and Briarcliff Road. He said three small roads that stem from one of the above four will also be re-paved, meaning the town shouldn't have to return to the neighborhood for a number of years.

Morgan said the rebuild of Summit Avenue will still be completed this year while Saltmarsh Pond Road will be deferred to another year.

"While Saltmarsh is rough and susceptible to frost heaving, it has a rather substantial base that allows it to move and come back to mediocre condition," Morgan wrote in a memo to the board.

Last Updated on Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:25

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